poems sent from dickinson to higginson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 319

MANUSCRIPTS: The text above is reproduced from the copy that ED enclosed with three other poems in her first letter to T. W. Higginson, mailed 15 April 1862. It is a fair copy redacted from the semifinal draft in packet 14 (H 69a), written sometime in 1861:

The maddest dream - recedes -unrealized -
The Heaven we chase-
Like the June Bee-before the Schoolboy-
Invites the Race-

Stoops to an Easy Clover-
Dips - Evades -
Teazes - deploys -
Then - to the Royal Clouds-

Spreads his light pinnace-
Heedless of the Boy-
Staring - defrauded - at the
Mocking sky-

Homesick for steadfast Honey-
Ah, the Bee
Flies not- that brews
That rare variety!

1. maddest] nearest
9. Spreads] Lifts
11. defrauded] bewildered

ED adopted all suggested changes in the copy to Higginson.

PUBLICATION: The poem was first published in Atlantic Monthly, LXVIII (October 1891), 445, in an article which Higginson wrote dealing with the letters and poems he had received from ED, and it there reproduces his copy. The same text was used when the poem was collected later that year in Poems (1891), 24. In both printings line 3 is divided as two lines.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on September 2, 1998